Scrum Documentation

If you are on an agile team, and you are telling your team that you don’t need to document because your “agile”, stop it. Stop it right now!! You’re making my life difficult!

There is a strong stereotype out there, and its that with agile, you don’t document. Arggghhh!!! I’m sure some of you have experienced it.

Here is what I tell people when they ask about the documentation requirements on an agile project…”If the team needs it, then they will create it”. Now, I’m not talking about documents that are delivered to the customer, like help documents. I’m talking about documents such as architecture diagrams, “requirements” documents (eww), process flow diagrams, diagrams, and more diagrams.

IF these kinds of documents will make the team more productive, and produce higher quality software then document! Now, the next thing I tell people is to be LOW TECH. I mean, c’mon, do you really have to transfer that diagram on the whiteboard to visio? I’ve seen people take 2 weeks to do that, as the rest of the team is “waiting”, i.e WASTE. Why not take a picture? It’s going to change anyway, right? And, we “want” it to change, if we ever want to improve.

Remember, the end customer does not value these kinds of documents. So, DON’T SPEND A LOT OF TIME ON THEM. If your company “requires” them, then take the lowest road approach possible. Ask questions. Challenge the “process”. Processes were meant to change and improve, you should not be a victim to them.

Okay, to review….

  • Documentation can be good, if it makes the team more productive and the customer happier because of higher quality. But, BE CAREFUL
  • Low tech = Good
  • The customer DOESN’T CARE about those documents, so just take it easy there partner. Only do the bare minimum that you NEED.

About Andre Simones
I am a founding partner of One80 Services that specializes in agile training, small business and startup guidance, and custom development. My goal is plain and simple. To see others succeed. I want to teach you how stop doing the things that aren't working and give you tools that will empower you to succeed on your own.

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